Collect Birds on Stamps (5th Edition)

Front cover

Back cover

My review copy of this long-awaited publication arrived on 22 January 2003. After a gap of nearly seven years since the previous edition, it is not surprising that almost 4700 extra stamps have been added. This mammoth task has been undertaken by the renowned ornithologist, Dr Malcolm Ogilvie. The previous editions had all followed the first edition of Howard and Moore's A Complete Checklist of Birds of the World, but this follows the second edition which was published in 1991. Coincidentally, the 3rd edition of Howard and Moore's checklist is due out this year, so it will be interesting to see if it converges with Clements' list.

The format is the same as the previous editions: Countries section (268 pages) and Species section (86 pages) with a comprehensive index followed by the systematic list.

The Countries section lists in alphabetical order the countries which have issued bird stamps, giving the catalogue number and price for mint and used stamps. A sample stamp from each set is shown in black and white, 75% size. Inside the back cover there is an order form for mint stamps.

Some review of mis-identifications in earlier editions has been done, because the Philippines stamp SG2521 showing what was the national bird, "Maya", has been corrected from a trogon to Chestnut Mannikin. However, the Indian stamp, SG733, remains as a Great Egret whereas it looks more like a Demoiselle Crane. Also, in the challenging Mexican wildlife set of 1996, an American Darter is listed on SG2377, but I cannot see one.

Some secondary birds on stamps are overlooked: for instance, Ireland SG1228 showing 2 Whooper Swans also has a small Common Pochard swimming in the background. Likewise, Great Britain SG1640 showing a young Mute Swan clearly has a Great Crested Grebe in the background.

For some countries, the last stamps listed are disappointingly out of date. For example, Colombia finishes at 1998, Laos at 1997 and Mauritania 1988, so excluding the 1994 set. On the other hand, Sweden is complete up to January, 2002. This will always be a problem for catalogues while they remain in book format. With the ever-expanding use of the Internet, it cannot be long before an online version of this catalogue will exist, with the option for us all to submit corrections, and contribute to identification solutions.

Update September 2011: The catalogue is no longer advertised on the Stanley Gibbons web site, and there has been no announcement of the next edition.

Update January 2013: SG has "no plans to produce a new edition this year".

22 January, 2003
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